Farewell to the Nassau Coliseum: Day 6

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New York Islanders Evaluation Camp

Six days to go. One point needed for a playoff spot. These are special times to be an Islanders fan.

There has always been a certain correlation for me with baseball and the end of hockey season. I would envy fans of other teams as not only their favorite baseball team would start up their season, but their hockey team would get set for a playoff run.

It’s the awakening. A long, helpless slumber in the grey abyss finally is able to be shaken off at a time like this. It’s early April, New York baseball has begun and both New York hockey teams are preparing for the postseason.

I would like you to do me a favor and scratch out the definition of optimism in your dictionary and simply put down this time of year.

Six days to go.

We continue our countdown to the final regular season home game at the Nassau Coliseum with a number six that might be the second or third greatest defensemen that has worn an Islanders uniform (I shall leave that debate up to the readers).

Ken Morrow was drafted in the fourth round in 1976 out of Bowling Green University. Obviously receiving little attention during his collegiate days, Morrow became a star before he stepped onto the Coliseum ice as he was a part of the 1980 United States Olympic team that won an improbable gold medal.

Later that season, Morrow joined the Islanders playing 18 games in the regular season and 18 games in the 1980 playoffs, the Islanders’ first Stanley Cup triumph. Morrow became the first player to ever win an Olympic gold medal and a Stanley Cup in the same season.

A 6’4″, somewhat lanky skater, Morrow was a shut-down blue liner and became a big part of the team’s defense during their dynasty. While never much of a goal-scorer, he never scored more than five in a single season, Morrow scored one of the most clutch goals in franchise history.

Playing the Rangers in the Patrick Division semifinals, the series wound down to a decisive Game 5. Going into overtime with the game tied at two, Morrow sent a shot past Don Maloney 8:56 into the frame to keep the Islanders’ hopes of a fifth consecutive Stanley Cup alive.

He also embodied what toughness truly was. Battling knee problems for the entirety of his career, Morrow had arthroscopic surgeries performed on him during the 1980 and ’83 playoffs and played days later. It was said that he even had his knee drained between games.

It was his knees that proved to be his downfall. Morrow was forced to retire in 1989 at the age of 32. He ranks eighth all-time in franchise history with a +149 rating and was inducted into the Islanders Hall of Fame in 2011.

Currently, Morrow is the director of pro scouting with the Islanders.

 

 

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